A Decade Of Incredible Travel Innovations

The past decade of travel has seen a barrage of innovations from the rise and rise of app-supported travel to advancements in engineering and in-flight entertainment.

The shift in our attitude towards travel over the past decade is linked to the rise of social media apps such as Instagram and the prolificacy of the sharing economy. Social media and traveller-to-traveller reviews are replacing traditional guide books. Travellers look to locals to devise an itinerary based around authentic experiences. Airbnb and the sharing economy allows travellers to stay in a non-touristy neighbourhood and ‘live like a local’.

Over a century after the Wright brothers made their first “controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft” Travelstart takes a look at innovations in travel over the past decade and what we can look forward to in the future. This month we’re celebrating a decade of travel booking made efficient, simple and supported by a team of experts. Founded in Sweden in 1999, Travelstart began operating in South Africa from our headquarters in Cape Town in 2006.

To celebrate 10 years of exhilarating growth Travelstart is running an online beach balloon popping competition. Win an all-inclusive trip to Mauritius, flights to Mozambique, a Sony Xperia XA worth R5999 and R37 000 in spot prizes. Start winning here.

A decade’s worth of travel innovations

Carbon-fibre airframes mean increased fuel efficiency

In July 2007 the Boeing 787 Dreamliner made its debut and was the first airliner to use a predominately carbon-fibre airframe. Carbon fibre is much stronger and stiffer than aluminium while being lighter and therefore more fuel efficient.

Google Street View showed us what it’s like to fly like a millionaire

Emirates_A380_Street_View
To celebrate the 5th anniversary of the A380’s launch on Emirates, Google and Emirates teamed up to bring us the first Street View tour of an airliner. In August 2013 it became possible to virtually step aboard the luxurious airliner without dropping $20 000 on a seat in business class. If you’re looking for travel inspiration Google Street Maps obliges with 360 degree views of famous landmarks all over the globe including the world’s tallest building the 829.8m tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Check out the Taj Mahal, Machu Pichu and other famous landmarks. The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset (which was released in March 2016) is the next step in virtual reality travel, imagine feeling as if you are present at Angkor Wat in Cambodia without leaving your living room.

Inflight entertainment

In-flight entertainment has advanced in leaps and bounds from the introduction of the first moving-map system, Airshow in 1982. KLM and Swissair were the first airlines to offer their passengers inflight moving-maps so they could track the plane’s journey. In 2013 Betria Interactive revealed their FlightPath3D, which is a fully interactive moving-map that allows passengers to pan and zoom around a 3D world map using touch. These days we can expect inflight Wifi on most international carriers and an enhanced entertainment system with high quality sound and thousands of channels from which to choose.

Authentic travel

Travel experts such as Cape Town’s own Mariette du Toit-Helmbold of Destinate has described the shift in the way we travel. Insulated sight-seeing tours are falling from favour as people seek out authentic experiences when they travel.
She explains:

“Through social media we can be connected to a place getting insiders’ tips and recommendations in a far more intimate way than through traditional guidebooks or tourism offices.

Living like a local in a non-tourist neighbourhood, enjoying meals in small, local restaurants and seeking out engagement through peer-to-peer dining is an increasing trend, coupled with food now being a hook for travel – dubbed the Bourdain Effect by Skift after food journalist Anthony Bourdain’s desire to travel solely for food experiences around the globe. Travellers are no longer as predictable as in the past.”

The shift in our attitude towards travel over the past decade is linked to the rise of social media apps such as Instagram and the prolificacy of the sharing economy. Social media and traveller-to-traveller reviews are replacing traditional guide books. Travellers look to locals to devise an itinerary based around authentic experiences. Airbnb and the sharing economy allows travellers to stay in a non-touristy neighbourhood and ‘live like a local’.

Apptastic

gadgets travel innovations
Instagram launched in October 2010 as a free mobile app, today the video and photo-sharing app inspires us to travel. Snapchat launched a year later and both apps provide curated and uncurated insights into destinations around the world. A myriad of free currency converter, photo-editor and language-translator apps now exist. Find a flight quickly and easily using free online booking apps like Flapp and order an Uber-moto in traffic-congested cities.

Breathe easy

h20 snorkel ninja mask travel innovations

Courtesy of thebunnbunn via Instagram

Heading to the Maldives for a fabulous snorkeling holiday? Don’t forget your full-faced H²O Ninja snorkel mask. Now you can breath normally through your nose while snorkeling. It retails online for around R2200. Other travel gear to consider adding to your collection is the ever-useful multi-usb portable charger.

Record breakers

Last year André Borschberg flew a record distance of 7212 km from Nagoya, Japan to Honolulu, Hawaii in a solar-powered plane known as the Solar Impulse 2.

Not only that but the record for the world’s longest non-stop scheduled commercial flight was set on the 1 March 2016 with Emirates flight EK448 from Dubai, United Arab Emirates to Auckland, New Zealand. Passengers spent a whopping 17 hours and 15 minutes in the air!

Digital nomads make the world their office

For a growing number of digital professionals the world is their playground. As long as you have a strong internet connection and an e-commerce or tech-based job you can make a different beach or city your office each week.
Also read:

Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags are speeding up turnaround times

The RFID tags you find in cellphones and bank cards can now be found in airline cabins. These tags really cut down the time flight attendants spend inspecting life vests, seats and medical kits among other equipment. This means that planes are on time more often and aids in decreasing airticket prices.

Source: Popular Science

No more passports?

Near the end of last year the Australian Government suggested the introduction of “Cloud passports” for Australians travelling to New Zealand in order to combat the high number of misplaced passports. Though not yet a reality the introduction of a digital passport accessible from anywhere, is proposed. In another decade the digital passport stored in a Cloud may be the norm worldwide.

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